A man (C) surrenders to New York Police Department officers after he was talked down from a light pole in New York's Times Square (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)


For nearly two hours on Tuesday morning a man sat perched atop a 20-foot traffic pole at 44th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, New York. The man drew a large crowd and forced street closings until he finally came down at 11:12 a.m. and was handcuffed, placed in a police van, and taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation. He has yet to be charged.

The man was identified as Raymond Velasquez, 34, of Brooklyn.

He began the stunt around 9:30 a.m., climbing up the traffic light pole. Witnesses said that he sat on the horizontal struts coming out from the pole above the sidewalk and periodically stood up and began rapping towards the MTV building (where he was earlier kicked out).

Police produced an air bag to protect the man in case he fell or jumped and brought over a ladder from a police emergency truck. They then closed Seventh Avenue from 45th Street to 43rd Street to car traffic as the episode played out.

Hundreds of onlookers packed the sidewalks to watch the man who was wearing a red polo shirt, khaki shorts and a baseball cap.

He's a rapper, a witness told New York Times. He's just trying to get played.

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